Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign has gotten off to a rocky start. Scandals, lawsuits, and midterm failures have all contributed to a downturn in Trump’s popularity.
But fundraising efforts are well underway, which demonstrates Trump’s enduring viability as a presidential candidate. One super PAC is quietly patching together a network of megadonors intent on financing Trump’s 2024 campaign.
Trump was the first mainstream candidate to announce a 2024 run. And given his cult-like status, the announcement was expected to generate some fireworks. But Trump’s entrance into the race was noted for its “low energy” and lack of enthusiasm. The announcement itself was widely panned. Things have only gone downhill from there.
The campaign has been embroiled in scandal ever since Thanksgiving, when Trump hosted Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) and Nick Fuentes for dinner at Mar-a-Lago. Both Ye and Fuentes are well documented antisemites and Holocaust deniers. The dinner, which was decried for granting antisemitism high-profile credibility, caused a political nightmare for Trump. Just a few weeks later, however, Trump hosted a prominent QAnon conspiracy theorist, Liz Crokin, at Mar-a-Lago – suggesting that the former president had not learned his lesson.
Perhaps more indicative of Trump’s decline is the way his endorsees lost during the midterms. All but one Trump-endorsee running in a battleground state lost his or her election. (The exception was JD Vance who won a Senate seat in Ohio.) The poor midterm performance, paired with the simple fact that Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, has some right-wingers looking for an alternative standard bearer.
Some right-wing megadonors have indicated they will not back Trump for 2024. Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, for example, has moved on from Trump. Schwarzman said that he would endorse a candidate from a “new generation” of Republicans. Similarly, Kenneth C. Griffins, a hedge-fund billionaire and prolific GOP donor, has vowed to support Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. New York businessman Andy Sabin and billionaire Ronald Lauder have also declared they will not be supporting Trump for 2024. Other big GOP donors, such as Richard Uihlein, Jeffrey Yass, and Larry Ellison, have not yet declared their intentions for 2024. And while losing mainstream donors like Schwarzman and Griffins is obviously not good for Trump, and might represent a trend, other megadonors appear to be rallying to Trump’s cause.
Super PAC amassing megadonors for Trump
A super PAC backing Trump “has quietly amassed a small group of megadonors that could be key to financing their efforts to bolster his 2024 campaign,” CNBC reported. The PAC, Make America Great Again Inc., has raised over $40 million. Most of the money comes from a large donation from Trump’s PAC, Save America.
A Federal Election Commission filing, which indicates the PAC’s fundraising from Oct. 20 through Nov. 28, shows that nine megadonors made donations in excess of $900,000. Another FEC filing, which shows donations from earlier in October, shows that the PAC received seven donations (from six individuals and one corporation) that exceeded $3 million. One of the donors, Timothy Mellon, donated $1.5 million to the PAC in October.
Early fundraising patterns speak to Trump’s popularity within the GOP. While Trump has lost favor with an increasing portion of the party, prompting some prominent bankrollers to look elsewhere, he still enjoys fairly regular support from some very well-funded people. Accordingly, Trump’s 2024 campaign will be well funded and extremely prominent.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.